My brother Paul informed Shawn that he was planning to move out of our house a few days after Mom’s funeral. They were both working out on to the radio on the porch. Paul had been keeping up with his workout regimen ever since Dad died. Shawn had had less time for fitness since the kids were born, but he was trying to get back into the habit.
Mom’s funeral was a sad affair. I felt particularly bad for Aunt Emma, who is practically the only one left of her generation. She seemed so alone. Uncle Wayne, her husband, had died several years back. Johnny, her son, had married a girl here in Twinbrook, Meili’s sister, actually—Aili Kendrick. Emma was talking about moving back to Twinbrook to live with them, but she said there were too many bad memories here.
Johnny wasn’t the only one of my distant cousins to marry a Kendrick. Jane Fields, my third cousin I guess, married Meili’s brother, Shan. I had no idea that Meili was a triplet until I met Shan who came to the funeral with Jane. Kyle Fields was also at the funeral. His brother Jett, didn’t come. Jett was sick and wasn’t likely to live much longer. Seeing both Emma and Kyle alone made me realize how little of my Dad’s generation is left. Neither Jett nor Kyle had had children, which was why the property passed on to me and Paul.
Meili stayed the night at our house after the funeral. I suppose that’s when she and Paul decided to move in together. Our house was full, so they would find a place of their own. When Paul told me about it, I was happy for him, but I was sad, too. I would miss him. We’d always been together. Our only other time apart was the year I spent in France.
Ever since we had the triplets, Shawn hasn’t worked at the Ale House and the band hasn’t really had any gigs even though they still practice from time to time. Shawn said he was perfectly content being a full time dad, but I know that after Mom passed on, Shawn was excited to take over the family farm. He went into town and registered for the job so that the city didn’t take away our house.
As the girls became more self-sufficient, I was able to get back to my work…writing a new novel and continuing my painting and sculpting. I had been really pleased with the portrait of my mom, so I decided to do one for everyone in the family. I started one of Shawn and when it was finished, I decided to paint the boys as toddlers. I figured I’d do the girls when they were a little older.
I was very proud of the girls on their birthday. They didn’t complain about not having a party. They understood that everyone was still a little sad from their grandma going to heaven. Each of them became so pretty, but they were all so different!
The best thing about the girls was how well they got along. I was so pleased that they didn’t squabble as much as some sisters do.
Sherona (blond) is the oldest. She is also the smartest, and she seems to have taken an interest in Shawn’s little gadgets. I wonder if she will have an aptitude for that as she gets older. Virginia (red head) is the good child. She has a certain quality about her, too, that attracts people. We’ve been approached a few times by agents in the city who want to use her in commercials. Shawn thought we should let her, but I didn’t want her to have that sort of childhood, so we politely turned them down. Once she was older, if she wanted to act or be on TV, she could decide to do it herself. Rhonda (brunette), the youngest, is the pleaser. She’s friendly to everyone and always wants to make everything better.
All of the girls decided that they wanted me to teach them how to paint, so I bought them each an easel. I was really moved that they had an interest in something that I truly love to do. I’m not sure if any of them has talent, but it doesn’t matter. If they love art, their love and passion will come out in their work. Frankly, I always figured that Paul had more talent than me, but I truly loved it, which was why I became an artist.
I have to admit to spoiling our children. I may not like being outdoors that much, but the girls didn’t share my dislike. My dad used to talk about the awesome play set he had in his backyard, so Shawn and I bought one for the kids. It included a set of swings, a slide, and a jungle gym. Shawn also splurged on a Gnubb set, even though I thought the playground was enough. Shawn was right, though. The girls loved the Gnubb set and played together all the time.
The girls weren’t the only ones who got along well. The boys liked to play side by side, but they were also pretty competitive. If Mickey learned something on the Xylophone, then Danny wanted to learn it, too. If Danny was being potty trained, then Mickey felt he needed to go, too.
I hoped this spirit of competition would remain friendly as they aged up. I wouldn’t want my too little guys fighting when they got older.
I don’t want to give an impression that my children did not have friends outside of our family. Sherona had a best friend named Jena Williams. Jena lived out on the swamps with her older sister and father. Malika, Keera’s older sister, was a lot older than Jena, so it was like she was an only child. I think Sherona liked visiting there because there weren’t any other children to claim Jena’s attention. It was very different than our house.
Rhonda also liked to go over to Jane’s house. Jane’s son, Trevor, was a little older than the girls, but Rhonda liked him. Jane lived on the water, too, but not near the swamp.
If Virginia had a particular friend, I wasn’t sure who it was. All I know was on the girls’ birthday, there were a lot of kids present. Some were already teens, some were not.
It’s really hard for me to believe that I have three teen-aged daughters. I remember what I was like at that age and I can’t help but notice that aside from their color choices, my girls dress almost as oddly as I did. It must be a teenage thing.
Virginia ended up with curly red hair. Her freckles are more pronounced now, too. She doesn’t find herself attractive, but I think she has that interesting quality that a lot of people go for. Sherona is more classically pretty. She still likes her bright colors and is more girly than one would expect for a genius who likes to tinker and invent things. Shawn suspects that we’ll have to deal with more boys with her than the other two. As for Rhonda, she’s definitely the most colorful. I also think that she ate a few too many of the muffins she made as a child to sell at her bakery stand. She is a little pudgier than the other two girls. Still, she has a lovely face with Shawn’s deep brown eyes, and she has the friendliest disposition. I think we might have as many boys to worry about with her as with Sherona even if she is a little chubby.
Not long after the girls became teenagers, we invited everyone over again for the boys’ birthday.
Mickey (red head) really enjoyed his party. He immediately wanted to know when he could have another one. Danny (sandy), also had a good time, but he wanted to know if we’d bought him a baseball for his birthday…it was the only thing he asked for, so of course we got it for him.
We also redecorated the boys’ room, but I kept their baby portraits up above their beds. They were a bit embarrassed about that, but when they saw how much it meant to me, they relented. I told them they could add whatever other decorations they wanted.
And so it is that Shawn and I have five children. I’ve loved him since I was a teenager, not much older than my girls are now. We drifted apart after my dad died, but I believe that we were fated to be together. Though we may have started off as adults in a more rocky way than we had as kids, Shawn and I have done alright.